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Burger Bugs?

Why some experts think more people should eat insects

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

A burger topped with grasshoppers and mealworms

Would you eat a cricket? Brent Evans would. He’s a fifth-grader in Hampshire County, West Virginia. He recently decided to try eating insects.

Americans usually don’t think of insects as food. But more than 2 billion people around the world do. In Thailand, locals snack on crispy fried locusts. Brazilians eat chocolate-covered ants. South Africans sprinkle crickets over oatmeal for an extra crunch.

Would you eat a cricket? Brent Evans would. He’s in fifth grade. He lives in Hampshire County, West Virginia. He recently started eating insects.

Americans usually don’t think of insects as food. But more than 2 billion people around the world do. In Thailand, people eat crispy fried locusts. Brazilians eat ants covered in chocolate. South Africans sprinkle crickets over oatmeal.

Some experts think more Americans should add insects to their diets. That’s partly because bugs can be good for you. Many are low in fat and high in protein. They often contain important nutrients like iron and calcium.

Eating insects can also help the planet, according to the United Nations. Farming insects causes little pollution. Insects need less food than bigger animals. That means raising them takes less land and water than farming meat. As Earth’s population grows, insects could be a good way to feed everyone.

Some experts think more Americans should eat insects. That’s partly because bugs can be good for you. Many are low in fat. They are also high in protein. And they often contain important nutrients like iron and calcium.

Eating insects can also help the planet. That’s what the United Nations says. Farming insects creates little pollution. Insects need less food than bigger animals. That means raising them takes less land and water than farming meat. Insects could be a good way to feed everyone. Especially as Earth’s population grows.

TON KOENE/PICTURE-ALLIANCE/DPA/AP PHOTO

Scientists in Germany research ways to improve the taste of edible insects.

JWestend61/Martin Benik/Getty Images

“Even though it seems strange now, we could all be eating insects in a few years,” says Wendy Lu McGill. She farms insects in Denver, Colorado.

For bug-based meals to catch on, people need to think they taste good. Chefs are experimenting with new recipes. One chef put grasshoppers in spaghetti sauce. An ice cream shop in Portland, Oregon, recently served mealworm ice cream!

The first insect that Brent ate was a cricket. He thought it was tasty. Since then, he’s tried roasted ants and cricket brownies. Eating bugs has started to feel normal to him. But the rest of Brent’s family isn’t there yet. “I tried to get my mom to eat a cricket, but she won’t,” he says.

“It seems strange now. But we could all be eating insects in a few years,” says Wendy Lu McGill. She farms insects in Denver, Colorado.

For people to eat more bugs, they need to think they taste good. Chefs are trying new bug recipes. One chef put grasshoppers in spaghetti sauce. An ice cream shop in Portland, Oregon, recently served mealworm ice cream!

Brent first ate a cricket. He thought it was tasty. He’s also tried roasted ants. And he’s eaten cricket brownies. Eating bugs now feels normal. But Brent’s family doesn’t agree. “I tried to get my mom to eat a cricket. But she won’t,” he says.

Doctors recommend that people eat no more than 65 grams of fat a day. A serving of edible mealworms has 1/8 of this amount. A serving of chicken has 1/9 of the amount. Which two number lines represent these fractions?

Doctors recommend that people eat no more than 65 grams of fat a day. A serving of edible mealworms has 1/8 of this amount. A serving of chicken has 1/9 of the amount. Which two number lines represent these fractions?

Which has less fat: mealworms or chicken? Explain how you know.

Which has less fat: mealworms or chicken? Explain how you know.

People in Mexico enjoy toasted grasshoppers. A serving of the grasshoppers has about 7/10 of the recommended daily amount of protein. A serving of tilapia fish has about 3/10 of the recommended daily amount. Show these fractions on the number lines below.

People in Mexico enjoy toasted grasshoppers. A serving of the grasshoppers has about 7/10 of the recommended daily amount of protein. A serving of tilapia fish has about 3/10 of the recommended daily amount. Show these fractions on the number lines below.

Which has more protein: grasshoppers or tilapia?

Which has more protein: grasshoppers or tilapia?

Calcium helps build strong bones. A serving of crickets has 1/10 of the recommended daily amount of calcium. A serving of caterpillars has 7/10 of the recommended amount. If you wanted an insect with a lot of calcium, which would you choose? Why?

Calcium helps build strong bones. A serving of crickets has 1/10 of the recommended daily amount of calcium. A serving of caterpillars has 7/10 of the recommended amount. If you wanted an insect with a lot of calcium, which would you choose? Why?

Iron helps your blood carry oxygen through your body. Doctors recommend that people eat 18 milligrams of iron a day. A serving of beef has about 1/10 of this amount of iron. A serving of crickets has 1/3 of this amount. A serving of palm weevil grubs has 1/7 of this amount. Order these foods from the greatest iron content to least.

Iron helps your blood carry oxygen through your body. Doctors recommend that people eat 18 milligrams of iron a day. A serving of beef has about 1/10 of this amount of iron. A serving of crickets has 1/3 of this amount. A serving of palm weevil grubs has 1/7 of this amount. Order these foods from the greatest iron content to least.

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